It is birthday month in my family. Today is my father’s birthday (affectionately called Father-Person) so my post today is dedicated to him. My father taught me the value of challenging yourself. This is a lesson I learned the hard way. Whether it was learning to drive motorcycles and falling off (a lot) or driving golf carts and running into trees, parked cars and other immovable objects we were pushed to achieve something beyond our own perceptions about what we were capable of doing.
Before I was old enough to have a driving license, my father would teach us how to drive in an old pick up truck. I distinctly remember the time he asked me to go and fetch the mail (our mailbox was a few kilometres away) in the pick-up and just as I’m leaving he matter-of-factly states the truck doesn’t have brakes. “How am I meant to stop?” I yelled out the window. “Don’t drive so fast,” he said and continued, “Hit a tree if you have to”. Granted, the long, dirt driveway did not allow you to get up to any great speed, but still.
During the winter, once we did have our driver’s licenses, my father would take us to the mall parking lot and deliberately put the car into a spin so we could practice getting out of it. This is one of those white-knuckle experiences. As the car is spinning in circles, we were reminded (loudly) to turn into the spin and pump the brakes. I’m not sure what was worse, the fear from the spin or the fear from getting yelled at for doing it wrong.
My father was brilliant at teaching us all sorts of stuff. I know how to wire electricity through a house, do plumbing work, put up sheetrock (dry wall) and all sorts of other construction type of tasks. I also know how to fix a catalytic converter (used in old cars), how to jump start a motorcycle, and of course change my own car tire when it goes flat. Most of these lessons, when I was young, were started with a bit of resistance and trepidation on my part. As I grew older, I sort of expected to be pushed to do stuff that were not-so-normal for other kids my age.
From this ability to accept and tackle challenges, I learned how to be self-reliant and increase my self-confidence. With each challenge I faced, and each challenge I struggled with and eventually overcame, I learned valuable insights about what I could do and what I was capable of. For me, the lessons my father taught me, are more precious than diamonds and gold.
Now, I’ve written a book on the value of stretching yourself to success. This need to continuously challenge myself and challenge others to get outside their comfort zones is born from what my father taught me. Without his lessons, I may never have gotten as far as I have in my life.
Thank you Father-Person! May you have the most wonderful year.